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The Academic Friends of Israel


The Academic Friends of Israel

 

 

19 March 2007

 

UCU Elections result

Two women have been elected to hold the two key posts in the University and College Union [UCU]. Sally Hunt won the battle to be the new union’s first General Secretary and Linda Newman was elected as the union’s first president to create an all-female top two.  The turnout was extremely low with only 14% of the 107,000 members making the effort to vote.

Sally Hunt was General Secretary of the AUT when it passed the 2005 boycott motion and we can only hope that she has learned from that experience and will do everything in her power to ensure the UCU will not pass another motion. She has also promised that any final decision to boycott should be made by full membership ballot not congress alone

Although we have the AUT guidelines on boycotts in place, there is always the possibility that a boycott motion may be sent to this years congress [it’s not called a conference anymore]. We shall find out anyway within the next two weeks when the conference motions will be published.

 

Sally Hunt realises that the issue is highly divisive and we call on her to ensure that the UCU at its first Congress this May puts all talk of boycotts behind them and works positively for the future with both Palestinian and Israeli academics.


The UCU General Secretary election result

Sally Hunt  7,605 (first preference) plus 858 transfers from Peter Jones,

Total 8,463 votes

Roger Kline 6,151 (first preference) plus 966 transfers from Peter Jones,

Total 7,117 votes

Peter Jones 2,494 votes

 

The results for the 60 members of the UCU’s executive committee have also been announced. We know that at least seven of the 60 are opposed to a boycott. However 30 [50%] are members of members of UCU Left with a further two from the UCU Left elected to the UCU Scottish Executive. One of their number, Sasha Callaghan will the UCU President next year. The UCU Left is supported by the Socialist Worker which supports an academic boycott of Israel.

Sue Blackwell and Tom Hickey, proposers of the AUT and NATFHE boycott motions respectively, were elected to the executive. The new executive is split almost 50-50 between members of the AUT and NATFHE, which is surprising since the AUT was a much smaller union than NATFHE. I have attached a spreadsheet here which lists the members of the new executive.

The Academic Friends of Israel is working with various groups in the world to give support to academics who are against a boycott, and provide information about Israel and Israeli academia to counter the wild accusations of the boycotters.

 

Please let us know what is happening on your campus especially if you are member of the UCU. We would like to know if your branch has discussed an academic boycott motion and who your delegates are for the year’s UCU Congress.

 

Feel free to pass the digest on to interested colleagues and please let us know of anyone who is interested in joining our organisation.

 

Ronnie Fraser

Director

Academic Friends of Israel

 

 

Other articles in the Digest are:

 

1. University of Leeds bows to Muslim protests and at the last minute cancels talk by Dr Matthias Küntzel on ‘Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East’

2. Palestine Solidarity Campaign almost unanimously rejects two motions against antisemitism

3. “Israeli Apartheid Week”

4. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions - Palestinian Trade Unions call upon International Labour Movement for support

5. JCPA Essay: Holocaust Inversion: the Portraying of Israel and the Jews as Nazis by Manfred Gerstenfeld

 

 

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1. University of Leeds bows to Muslim protests and at the last minute cancels talk by Dr Matthias Küntzel on ‘Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East’

The University of Leeds was accused of infringing free speech last week when it cancelled a lecture on “Islamic anti-Semitism” by a German academic.

Matthias Küntzel arrived at the university 14th March to begin a three-day programme of lectures and seminars organised by the university’s German department was told that it had been called off on “security grounds”.

Dr Küntzel, a political scientist who has lectured around the world on the antisemitic ideology of Islamist groups, told The Times there were concerns that he would be attacked. He said that he was “outraged” that his meetings had been cancelled and had yet to receive an explanation.

The university, which acted after complaints from Muslim students, denied that it was interfering with the academic freedom of Dr Küntzel, and said that proper arrangements for stewarding the meeting had not been made.

To read more on this:

http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/

http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2007/03/15/kuentzel_cancelled.php

http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/

Matthias Küntzel’s paper Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East was first presented at the international seminar series “Antisemitism in Comparative Perspective” under the auspices of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University, New Haven, in November 2006.

You can read the paper in full at:

http://www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/hitlers-legacy-islamic-antisemitism-in-the-middle-east

 

2. Palestine Solidarity Campaign almost unanimously rejects two motions against antisemitism


The three proposers of the motions Tony Greenstein, Roland Rance and Sue Blackwell are well known anti Zionists They came to the PSC conference with two motions arguing that those who push Holocaust denial and open antisemitism should be excluded from the PSC. Their motions were almost unanimously defeated.

For a full report of the meeting go to: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=918

3. “Israeli Apartheid Week”

February 12-17, 2007 saw the observance of “Israeli Apartheid Week” on several campuses in New York, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, London, and at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. "Israel Apartheid Week" was a series of events staged by anti-Israel activists to equate the Jewish state with the racist regime of apartheid-era South Africa.

For two very different reports of the event go to:

Israeli Apartheid Week Comes to California             
FrontPageMagazine.com

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=27221

Great Success: the Third Annual Israeli Apartheid Week     http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/4960/1/32/

4. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions - Palestinian Trade Unions call upon International Labour Movement for support

The Palestinian Trade unions have given out a fresh call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel which has been endorsed by the General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW) and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).
This call asks the Arab and International Trade Unions and, in particular, the International Labour Organization [ILO] and the International Confederation Trade Union [ICFTU] for support.

The policy of the TUC and the UCU is to work with both Israeli and Palestinian academics and trade unions on both sides of the conflict. The TUC has worked in the past with both the PGFTU and the Histadrut in Israel but in recent years the Histadrut has had very little contact with the TUC.  

Boycott, divestment and sanctions are just part of an eight point programme to delegitimise the state of Israel which was launched in 2001 at Durban at the UN conference on Racism. Its aim has been to create worldwide solidarity against Israel, what they call the last bastion of Apartheid.

We wait to see what will happen at this year’s round of UK Trade Union conferences.

To read the call in full go to: http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=441_0_1_0_M

5. JCPA Essay: Holocaust Inversion: the Portraying of Israel and the Jews as Nazis by Manfred Gerstenfeld

The false accusation of Holocaust inversion-the portraying of Israel, Israelis, and Jews as Nazis-is a major distortion of history. This anti-Semitic concept claims that Israel behaves against the Palestinians as Germany did to the Jews in World War II. "The victims have become perpetrators," is one major slogan of the inverters. By shifting the moral responsibility for genocide, Holocaust inversion also contains elements of Holocaust denial………

To read more:

http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=0&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=381&PID=0&IID=1526&TTL=Holocaust_Inversion:_The_Portraying_of_Israel_and_Jews_as_Nazis

 

 

Patron:

The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks

Advisory Board: 

Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Henry Grunwald Q.C. - President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Amir Lev

John D A Levy - Director of the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East

Andrew R. Marks, M.D. - Columbia University, USA

Dr Robin Stamler

Professor Leslie Wagner CBE

Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham

 

The Academic Friends of Israel Ltd is limited by guarantee and registered in England No 5297417.